Halloween is almost here, so why not celebrate with cake?
Cake is always a good idea, right? So whether you’re having a party or some sort of get together, why not make this cake – I promise, you won’t regret it!
I have made other cakes and traybakes for Halloween in the years previous but thought I’d tone things down this year and keep the coloured slightly more muted or pastel, thats why it’s not such a scary cake but the portion may be the most shocking part!
The cake is just my simple vanilla cake, made using the creaming method, coloured with food colouring. The cake is filled and decorated with my Italian buttercream, which is rich and buttery without being toothachingly sweet. I also use some small meringue kisses and chocolate shortbread headstones but these are options to add some festive feeling.
I’ll keep it short and sweet this year, as I haven’t really been feeling super into Halloween so far but have no fear – I may have started my Christmas baking but you’ll see that very soon!
Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
375g Butter, at room temperature.
375g Granulated sugar.
2 tsp Vanilla extract.
375g Plain flour.
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder.
Food colouring paste (or gels in orange, green and purple).
150g granulated sugar.
2 Egg whites.
Granulated sugar (double the weight of the egg whites).
1 tsp Vanilla extract.
To start on the cake, preheat your oven to 180˚c/350˚f and grab a mixing bowl. Into the mixing bowl, place the butter and granulated sugar and beat them together until they are lighter and fluffier in colour and consistency (this normally takes about 7-10 minutes). The mixture should be smoother, lighter and fluffier (if you can see or feel any granules of sugar, continue to mix until you can no longer feel them).
Give the bowl a good scraping down, this is just to incorporate any bits that may not have been fully worked in from earlier on.
You can then add in your eggs, roughly one at a time, beating well in-between each addition. Try your best not to add in too much egg at anytime, otherwise you may curdle or split the mixture.
Then you can go ahead and add in the flour and baking powder, passing it through a sieve, just to remove any lumps that may be in the dry mix.
Mix the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated, then stop, try not to over mix the cake batter too much (otherwise the baked cake will be tough in texture).
Into three separate bowls, add 15ml of milk and a colour into each (make sure the colour is very concentrated. Then divide the cake batter between the three bowls and incorporate the milk and colour into the cake batter – once the cake batter is coloured and ready, transfer into your lined (or buttered and floured) cake tins.
Spread and level out the cake batter as best as you possibly can, then place into your preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until well risen and when a tester is inserted into the centre, it comes out clean.
Once baked, allow to cool down fully. Then level the tops off of the cakes and halve the cakes, so for each colour, you should have two layers – repeat this for all of your cakes.
Brush each layer of cake with a generous amount of simple syrup. This helps to preserve the cake and keeps it fresher for longer – great for storing in the fridge and preventing the cake going stale.
For the buttercream, I like to keep things super simple – that’s why I use my Italian buttercream. It’s rich, indulgent and smooth but not overly sweet – this is due to no icing sugar being used and therefore the recipe isn’t as sweet. The full recipe write up will give you all of the information you need regarding the recipe.
Colour the buttercream with a small amount of colouring paste and place into piping bags to make your life easier.
Place the water, sugar and vanilla extract into a saucepan and place on the hob over a high heat and allow to come to a boil. The mixture should thicken slightly once done.
Allow to cool before using.
Once its cooled, level your cakes and brush over your layers of cake.
To start on the recipe, I like to make the meringue decorations as they take some time to bake. Start by grabbing your clean mixing bowl and placing the egg whites into it, then beating them until they are fairly frothy.
You can then go ahead and add in the granulated sugar, roughly a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to be incorporated before adding anymore sugar.
Once you have all of the sugar incorporated, you’ll want to check if the meringue is ready. Take a small amount and rub it between your finger and thumb, if you feel any granules of sugar, continue to whisk until you can no longer feel any granules of sugar.
When ready, place the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip and get ready to pipe. Onto the first lined baking tray, you can pipe small meringue kisses (and top them with sprinkles or other bits, if wanted) and onto the other tray, pipe a squiggle which should look like a ghost.
Place the trays into a the 130˚c/265˚f oven and bake for 40-60 minutes or until they peel away from the baking paper. Once baked, leave somewhere to cool until needed later on (store in the fridge if you intend on using them at a later date).
To assemble the cake, start by taking your plate/stand and dolloping a small amount of buttercream onto the plate/stand and spreading it out. This is just to secure the cake cake in place, so it doesn’t move while you’re decorating it.
I like to start by placing the purple layer of cake onto the plate/stand, then top with vanilla buttercream and jam (repeat this stage with the remaining layers of cake.
For this cake, I don’t do a crumb coat but if you’d like to, feel free to do so.
Take the coloured buttercream and place into piping bags, this will make it easier to work with the decoration.
when you’re ready to apply the final layer of buttercream, you can do it however you like but I like the correspond the colours inside with the colours outside, so I will do purple, green and orange (in that order). I start by placing my cake on to a turntable, so I can spin the cake and get a more level and consistent layer.
I pipe on all of my layers, so they are like rough levels, you can always straighten them out if they aren’t as straight as you’d like. Then take a cake smoother/scraper and level the icing all amount the cake, so it will all become smooth and level out. You may need to go around the cake a few times, just to perfect the finish.
Place into the fridge and allow the buttercream to firm up for a bit, about 40-60 minutes should be ideal.
After the time in the fridge, you can finish the cake. I like to do the drip first, so I melt the white chocolate spread in the microwave for a few seconds until its more liquid, then place the melted spread into a piping bag and drip it from the top, down the side of the cake. You can use more spread to create a longer drip or less if you want a shorter drip. Don’t forget to spread some of the chocolate spread on-top of the cake.
You’ll want the place the cake back in the fridge for 10 minutes, just for the drip to firm up.
Once you’re ready to finish the cake, you can go ahead and take the remaining buttercream and place it all into a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle, then pipe your rosettes onto the top of your cake, pipe as many or as few as you’d like – it’s up to you.
Then finish by placing the meringue decorations all over the top of the cake, you’ll know where a cake need some decoration. This adds height and character.
That’s all for today guys, I hope you enjoyed. If you did, don’t forget to share this recipe with your family and friends and enjoy it. I’ll be back soon with another blog post and YouTube video, so join me then. In the meanwhile, don’t forget to check out my other social’s – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The YouTube tutorial will be linked down below.